December 2014

December 2014

Forum – Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care: State Perspectives (Friday, January 30, 2015) 
Each year approximately 26,000 young people in foster care will turn 18 and “age out” of the system. These youth face numerous obstacles as they transition to adulthood such as homelessness, unemployment, difficulty accessing postsecondary education, and financial instability. AYPF’s recently released issue brief, “Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care” highlights best practices, policies, and makes recommendations to support these youth in three critical areas of need – sustainable social capital, permanency supports, and access to postsecondary opportunities.

During this forum, panelists will share how policies and programs in their states have addressed these challenges and opportunities. Michael Leach, Director of Independent Living for Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services will discuss the state’s network of resource centers and services for youth in transition from foster care. Cecilia Tran, Policy Analyst with the John Burton Foundation will provide an overview of California’s Transitional Housing program for youth in foster care. Finally, Ann Rossi, Analyst with the Michigan Department of Human Services will discuss how DHS works with institutions of higher education in Michigan to create better access to postsecondary education for youth in transition from foster care.

The Program Associate will assist in the development of learning events and products, including forums, study tours, webinars, discussion groups, and publications, and the dissemination of policy and practice guidance to multiple audiences. Program Associates work on a range of education and youth policy issues depending on current grant projects, such as promoting comprehensive community-wide services and supports for vulnerable youth; aligning K-12 education, postsecondary education, workforce, and youth systems; personalizing student learning; and creating multiple pathways to college and career success.

The Program Associate will also assist in organizing learning events for national and state policymakers. This will entail conducting research on effective and innovative programs and policies, identifying potential topics and speakers for the events, interfacing with the speakers to help design the content of the events, helping to organize the events (with the support of the AYPF operations team), and conducting follow-up activities. The Program Associate will write a range of reports, summaries, and documents for dissemination to various audiences. The position requires travel several times a year. Senior staff will supervise the Program Associate.

The deadline for applications is January 9, 2015. For further details and to apply on our website, please visit our employment page.


AYPF Issue Brief: Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care In this issue brief, the American Youth Policy Forum has highlighted best practices and policies and made recommendations to support youth in transition from foster care in three critical areas of need – sustainable social capital, permanency supports, and access to postsecondary opportunities.

From Discipline to Dialogue: Engaging Student Voice (Webinar Recording) How do opportunities for dialogue between teachers and students change school discipline? During this webinar, AYPF will present key themes from our recently published blog series, “From Discipline to Dialogue: Changing the Conversation about Classroom Discipline.” AYPF Program Associate and blog series author Erin Russ hosted the event, and co-presenters included Dr. Anne Gregory, Associate Professor at Rutgers University, and Vickie Shoap, Restorative Justice Specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools.

Forum For Thought Blog The Forum for Thought blog is operated by the American Youth Policy Forum, and highlights diverse points of view and information from the intersection of policy, practice and research. Some recent posts include:

  • Executive Director Betsy Brand’s year-end blog post, including a staff wish-list for youth outcomes in 2015.
  • Deputy Director Jennifer Brown Lerner’s research spotlight on improving success for first-time college students.
  • Improving teacher practices by incorporating student voice and feedback by Senior Director Loretta Goodwin.
  • Five essential foster care reading resources, from Program Associate Erin Russ.

Using Research in Policy and Practice: The Role of Intermediaries in Promoting Educational Improvement This discussion group brought together a wide range of stakeholders across education and youth-serving systems, including educational researchers, policymakers, and practitioners, to examine the role intermediary organizations play in promoting educational improvement through the use of research and evidence-based practices. For the purposes of this discussion, we defined intermediaries as individuals or organizations that broker the two-way exchange of knowledge between researchers and policymakers or practitioners. 

Study Tour, Oakland, CA: Engaging Schools and Communities in Meeting the Common Core Standards The goal of this study tour was to highlight Oakland’s approach to coordinating various student and family supports through the creation of a district-wide community schools initiative, to learn about state level efforts in support of this work, and identify the role civil rights partners can play in supporting the effort.

Study Tour, Boston, MA/Providence, RI: Deeper Learning: Implications for Practice and Policy Participants on this study tour learned about schools that promote a focus on deeper learning through personalized learning experiences that prepare students for college and career success. Participants visited two high schools in New England, and included classroom and internship observations, student and teacher panels, and discussions with administrators and network leaders. During the on-site visits and discussions with school leaders, participants studied the role of deeper learning for college and career success.

Study Tour, NH: Transitioning to a Competency-Based District The American Youth Policy Forum, in collaboration with Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, visited New Hampshire to both see work in action and discuss some of the keys that districts must consider and explore the interaction with district and state in terms of capacity building and policy. The study tour included a combination of school visits, discussions, and debriefs.

  Click here to view all AYPF publications

Click here to find all briefs and reports


Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff:

International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) The iNACOL State Policy Frameworks: 5 Critical Issues to Transform K–12 Education This policy brief provides concrete, actionable recommendations for state policymakers. There are five key issues in the framework: creating competency based education systems, improving student access and equity, measuring and assuring quality from input to outcome, supporting innovative educators, and supporting new learning models through connectivity, data, and security.

The Wallace Foundation Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students’ Learning Opportunities and Outcomes Can large urban school districts successfully run high-quality summer learning programs? If so, what impact can these programs have on student outcomes? These are two of the questions The Wallace Foundation, the RAND Corporation and five urban school districts are exploring as part of the Summer Learning District Demonstration Project. It’s a six-year effort to provide voluntary, district-led summer programs that offer a mix of academic instruction and enrichment — and test whether participation in two summers of programming boosts students’ success in school.

Jobs for the Future The Role of Digital Technologies in Deeper Learning To compete in today’s global, knowledge-based, innovation-centered economy, young people must go beyond a high school diploma and acquire not just academic knowledge, but intrapersonal and interpersonal capacities. That is, they must engage in deeper learning. As schools shift away from traditional education models in favor of providing deeper learning environments, they are required to replace their outdated technology practices and implement a new infrastructure to support student learning. The Role of Digital Technologies in Deeper Learning—the second paper from Students at the Center’s Deeper Learning Research Series— explores how partnering deeper learning strategies with effective technology designs allows for greater educational success.